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Success in Manitoba
Generations United: An Eye Opening Experience

Across the Generations: Respect All Ages Manual

The Seniors Are Cool Program is an Intergenerational Program that consists of events and programs that bring together the seniors of the community and the students of the Grade 5 class of the Grandview K-12 school. The program originated in 2004 and is very successful today.

What are intergenerational programs?
Intergenerational programs are events and activities that bring together old and young, kin and non-kin, to learn, play, celebrate and work together.

Why are intergenerational programs important?
We live in an age-segregated society where, other than within families, few opportunities exist for meaningful interaction between people of different ages.

In the community, children are separated according to school grade, and while young and middle age adults may work together, they tend to maintain social relationships with their peers. Older people spend time together in senior?s centers or at senior?s events. Few people have a close friend 20 to 30 years older or younger than they are. Yet each generation holds a unique perspective that has the potential to enrich life.

As long as the contact does not happen naturally, it is necessary to create intentional intergenerational opportunities to foster relationships, share resources and strengthen our community. This is why we need a strong voice for, and a clear vision of, the role of intergenerational programming in our communities.

Who benefits from intergenerational programs?
Both students and seniors benefit from intergenerational programs.

Students receive an expanded outlook on life, improved self-esteem and school performance, and an increased sense of citizenship. Intergenerational programs provide an opportunity for students to learn various stages of the life cycle, promote active living, see seniors as more than grandparents and learn skills of another generation. Intergenerational programs can help students develop social skills, provide visual, auditory and tactile stimulation and individual attention and time. Intergeneration programs also help students develop a positive attitude toward the process of aging, give students the opportunity to explore their own aging and can help reduce the fear of aging. Students connect with community, engage with positive role models, learn new cultural and historical perspectives and better appreciate the legacy seniors have created for them.

For seniors intergenerational programs improve access to the community, quality of life and self-esteem. They reduce isolation, stimulate mental capacity and promote lifelong learning. Intergenerational programs provide visual, auditory and tactile stimulations, friendship and laughter and a sense of newness. Intergenerational programs allow seniors to lead by example, be a role model and learn about the children of today. They also offer seniors the opportunity to contribute to and reconnect with the community, to serve, to feel needed and re-kindle the joy of living.

Some of the activities and events that both students and seniors participated in are:

  • I Love to Read Month
  • A Perogy making session
  • Making Stepping Stone Mushrooms
  • Movie and popcorn
  • Cultural Days Cooking
  • Game of Scrabble
  • Spending a day the Grandview Drop In Centre and participating in Drop In Centre activities (pool, bingo, card playing, shuffleboard)
  • Christmas Craft- making a tree wreath
  • Constructing a bird house
  • Tour of the Museum

In the month of June, as the school year comes to an end, a year-end party is held, where it will be the last time that the student and senior will be participating in an event together. It also gives them time to not only reflect on the year's events but to reflect upon the wonderful friendship that they have formed.  

Click here for Student's Testimonial why "Seniors are Cool"